Yeah, good luck with that. Ever since the Browning .50cal machine gun entered service in 1921, the Army has been looking for a replacement for it. And yet, it’s getting more use than ever in our current wars.
It’s an iconic weapon whose guttural “thump-thump-thump” inspires confidence that whatever it’s shooting at is going down – in a big way.
But for the first time since World War II, the Army is working on a fundamental redesign of the venerable M2 .50cal machine gun, cutting its weight in half, increasing its accuracy and making it a lot easier to shoot for Soldiers on the move.
Dubbed the XM806, the new version of the “Ma Duce” is being developed in response to the Army’s concerns about the weight and mobility of the current M2. With a greater emphasis on light infantry tactics since 9/11, officials wanted a weapon that can be as easily mounted on a Humvee as it can a hillside.
It’s NOT the first time ever. I can think of at least two attempts to produce a ground mount replacement, and several vehicle mounted weapons that have come and gone.
So here’s this weapon, this XM806, that weighs about 60 pounds, about half of the M2’s weight. What they don’t mention is that the rate of fire is about half an M2’s also. And the M2 already has a rather slow rate of fire for antipersonnel use.
And even at 60 pounds, who is going to want to hump this thing up and down hillsides? It’s still too heavy to be manpacked for any appreciable distance. And any vehicle that’s big enough to carry it, is big enough to carry Ma Duece. So what’s the point?